CARES Act and Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund

Under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act enacted by Congress on March 27, 2020, Tompkins Cortland Community College is allocated $922,589 from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) to distribute to students in the form of emergency grants.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tompkins Cortland Community College transitioned all courses to an online delivery format on March 30, 2020. Institutions of higher education are authorized by HEERF to award emergency grants to students for eligible cost of attendance expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. Eligible expenses include food, housing, course materials, technology, medical expenses, and childcare expenses.


To receive CARES Act emergency grant funding, a student must satisfy the following criteria:

Enrolled spring 2020 after March 30, 2020  

Students who withdrew from the College or ceased attending all classes prior to or on March 30, 2020 are not eligible for CARES Act Emergency Grant funding since they stopped attending classes prior to the conversion to online learning.

Must not be accepted as an online degree seeking student

Eligible for federal Title IV financial aid as demonstrated by having a 2019-2020 FAFSA on file with a valid estimated family contribution (EFC) as of June 30, 2020. 

Criteria for Title IV aid eligibility include the following: 

     U.S. citizenship or eligible noncitizen
     Valid social security number
     High school diploma or approved equivalent
     Matriculation into a degree program
     Not default on federal student loans, nor owe a repayment on a federal grant
    Selective service registration for male students, 18 years of age or older

Students must be academically eligible to receive Title IV aid spring 2020 and be compliant with standards of satisfactory academic progress.

CARES Act Emergency Grant Award Amounts

Tompkins Cortland Community College will make CARES Act emergency grants available to Title IV eligible students enrolled spring 2020 as of March 30, 2020. The College will use two award methodologies. First priority will be tiered awards to all Pell Grant eligible students based on their enrollment and campus housing status; second priority will be an application process for all Title IV eligible students, including Pell Grant recipients.  

The College will identify Title IV eligible students and notify them of their award amount by way of an email to their TC3 email account. Text messaging may be used to nudge eligible students to check their TC3 email for important CARES Act emergency grant information.

Award Methodology 1
The first methodology provides emergency grants to all Pell Grant eligible students based on enrollment and campus housing status as of March 30, 2020. The amount of the grant is calculated by the College based on the anticipated number of spring 2020 Pell Grant eligible students and 90% of the federal allocation. 

CARES Act Emergency Grant Methodology 1 Tiered Awards

Pell eligible | not living on campus                    
Full-time nonresidential (12 > credits) | $750.00               
Half-time nonresidential (6 > 12 credits) | $375.00            
Less than half-time nonresidential (3 > 5 credits) | $187.50

Pell eligible | living on campus
Full-time residential | $1,500
Half-time residential | $750

Students need not apply for an emergency grant in method one. Emailed award notifications will instruct Pell Grant eligible students to log into their myTC3 account and complete a CARES Act Student Certification Form. Students qualify for payment upon receipt of the electronically signed student certification form. Payments are made weekly as part of the regular weekly disbursement process. Funds are unencumbered and paid to eligible students regardless of financial holds or outstanding institutional liability.

Award Methodology 2
The second methodology allows for the distribution of the remaining 10% of the federal allocation through an application process for an award amount no greater than $1,000. Eligible student populations under methodology two include:

Pell Grant recipients who received an award under Methodology 1 may request additional funding for COVID-19 related expenses for food, housing, course material, technology, health care and childcare. 

Title IV eligible students who are not Pell eligible may request funding for COVID-19 related expenses for food, housing, course material, technology, health care and childcare. 

Funds will be distributed to eligible students enrolled spring 2020 until the CARES Act emergency grant allocation is exhausted.


CARES Act emergency grant funds are disbursed on a weekly basis to students who have electronically submitted their CARES Act Student Certification Form in Methodology 1 or the CARES Act Emergency Grant Application in Methodology 2. Students will be paid via check or direct deposit. 

Direct deposit setup instructions

Access your myTC3 account with your username and password
Select myINFO
Select Make A Payment
Select Manage Refunds
Follow on-screen instructions

Impact on Existing Financial Aid Eligibility

CARES Act emergency grant funding does not impact student aid eligibility in any way.


CARES Act emergency grants are considered gift aid and are not required to be repaid.

Distribution of Funds

Tompkins Cortland Community College has signed and returned to the Department of Education the Certification and Agreement and intends to use, no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.

Tompkins Cortland Community College has received $922,589 for student aid from the Department of Education pursuant to the Certification and Agreement for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students.

Tompkins Cortland Community College has distributed $666,277.50 to 813 students under Section 1804(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of August 13, 2020.

Tompkins Cortland Community College has determined an estimated 1,398 Title IV eligible students may qualify to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

CARES Act Institutional Reporting

CARES HEERF Quarterly Report
CARES Spring 2020 Remote Teaching Workpapers

CARES ACT Institutional Expense Details | update Nov. 25, 2020


Students should check their TC3 email for specific instructions on their CARES Act eligibility. Questions can be emailed to